The PS4 and PS4 Pro are two of the most popular consoles in the market today alongside the likes of the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch – but what if you want to play your old (but just as good) PS2 and PS3 games? As many gamers will know, it's not as easy as putting the disc in the console.
Here, we explain the current backwards compatibility situation with Sony’s PS4, and showcase how gamers can enjoy PS2 and PS3 titles on the console.
Interested in newer games? Take a look at the best PS4 games of 2019.
Can I play my PS2 & PS3 games on my PS4?
Unfortunately, the answer, is no – not by putting the disc in the console, anyway.
While you can’t use PS3 game discs in the current console (as was the case with the first-generation PS3 with PS2 titles), you are able to stream and download older titles via Sony’s own PlayStation Now service, available in the UK, US and a handful of other countries.
The Xbox One offers backwards compatibility – why not the PS4?
Unlike Sony, Microsoft offers backwards compatibility with the Xbox One for almost 500 Xbox 360 titles. You can either insert the disc if you already own the game or buy the game online via Microsoft’s online store. It’s a natural way for a console to offer the functionality, and is a big selling point over the PS4. You can see our full Xbox One S vs PS4 comparison here for more information.
However, Sony’s head of PlayStation Europe Jim Ryan said in a June 2017 interview that while backwards compatibility is much-requested by gamers, it’s not actually used very often.
"When we've dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much," Ryan said, speaking to Time. "That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?"
Although it's not good news for PS4 gamers, there is a silver lining; Sony has confirmed that backwards compatibility will be available on the next-gen PS5 from release, allowing you to play your library of PS4 titles on the console.
Play PS2 and PS3 games using PlayStation Now
While you can’t play your old PS2 and PS3 games on your PS4 using your old discs, there is another option available: PlayStation Now.
While PlayStation Now isn’t the same as Xbox One’s backwards compatibility, it allows gamers to stream and download a library of games via the internet.
Sony’s PlayStation Now subscription gives gamers access to a library of PS2, PS3 and PS4 games available almost instantly thanks to streaming. In fact, Sony claims that there are over 600 titles to choose from.
Streaming games offers benefits including no initial downloads and synced progress between consoles, so it might appeal to some. As mentioned above, the service also allows you to download games for offline use - ideal for those with slower internet connections unable to handle streaming.
The service is available for PS4 and PC, and will set potential subscribers back £12.99 a month or £84.99 a year in the UK – and that’ll give you unlimited access to all 600+ titles from day one.
For more information on Sony’s streaming service, take a look at our explainer: Is PlayStation Now worth buying?